Suggested itineraries

Days Out: Chelsea

  •  Saatchi Gallery
  • Chelsea Physic Garden
  • The National Army Museum
  • Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • Duke of York Square
  • St. Luke’s Playground
  • The Kings Road
  • Peter Jones
  • Battersea Park
  • Henry J. Beans
  •  Bus: 49, 19, 22, 319, 11, 360
  • Tube: Sloane Square and South Kensington

 This is an amazingly toddler friendly place to spend the day in Central London.  Chelsea offers a charming and varied day out for all kinds.  If you want culture there is the Saatchi Gallery, history buffs can enjoy the National Army Museum, while shoppers can peruse The Kings Road and Peter Jones. 

 If the weather is fine, the courtyard in front of the Saatchi Gallery and the Duke of York Square are excellent places to amuse toddlers while you enjoy a coffee or just want to let the kids out for a wander.  In the summer, when there is no hosepipe ban, the Duke of York Square is filled with small shoots of water for children to run through.  A three year old can easily kill and hour there while an adult wanders through the boutiques or the Saatchi Gallery. You can always come mid-week, during term time and use the playgrounds as a toddler diversion while adults take turns exploring Chelsea.

 The Saatchi Gallery is entirely step-free and a nice gallery to take children to, considering none of the exhibits are pitched for children.  The staff is warm and welcoming to children and I have not yet checked out the changing facilities.  This museum is free.

Chelsea Physic Garden: Amazing gardens which are interestingly a museum of plants

Royal Hospital Chelsea: Amazing grounds and free tours available of the Wren building and unique history of the pensioners

 The National Army Museum and Kids Zone: if you come to Chelsea on a wet day, come here, regardless if you are a historian.  Inside the muesum is the best indoor play space in London, The Kids Zone AND its free.  The only drawback, there is limited entry, so there is a slight gamble that you could show up for the timed entry and it is filled (see Chelsea description for the times)

 The Kids Zone has two enormous soft climbing frames with tunnels, slides, netting, rolled cushions, but much of it hidden, so an adult needs to accompany the little ones that are not very steady yet.For babies, there is a great floor space of varied toys and cushions for them to play and sit on while you run off with the older ones.  They also have dress up, a play kitchen, trains, cars and books.  As a bonus, outside the museum are picnic tables for you to bring your own lunch and eat outdoors.  

 St. Luke’s Garden’s Playground Refurbished last summer, the playground has several picnic tables and benches for adults, great climbing frames for both little and bigger children, swings and other interesting play equipment.  The playground is completely enclosed with basic toilets for both children and adults.  There are two gates to enter and leave the playground at opposite ends.  In addition to the playground are the lovely manicured gardens and two football pitches (not sure what the rules are for using the pitches and they usually have organised looking games being played on them.

 Peter Jones:  In wet weather, Peter Jones can save the day. The toys, children’s clothes, nursery and pushchairs, and a nice family toilet and feeding room is located on the 3rd floor.  On the 6th floor  there is a somewhat child friendly restaurant. They welcome children, have loads of high chairs and great changing facilities. The drawback is its cafeteria style dining, so you really need a second set of hands if you have two children.  The building is entirely step-free, but the lifts get really busy on the weekends.

Battersea Park:  Just down Oakley Street, over The Albert Bridge is the expansive and beautiful Battersea Park.  There are manicured gardens, the zoo, pagoda, boat hire, Gondala Café with pond-side picnic table dining and loads of high chairs, Pump House Gallery and an adventure playground open weekdays for older children and a lovely, regular playground open daily.  Also on the weekdays is a 1 O’clock club (a well-resourced, amazing playgroup with riding toys and a climbing frame) located next to the playgrounds, free to the under 5’s. 

 If you come mid-week, use one of the playgroups as a stopping point for the little ones to have a play.  Check out the listings http://london-baby.com/chelsea/

Where to Eat:

Henry J. Beans, The Kings Road near Oakley Street.  “Beans” is an extremely family friendly North American Themed Sports Bar and Grill with an enormous beer garden in the back with covered picnic tables and sunny areas to eat, as well.  The food is good, lots of burgers and salads, a bit pricey but being able to eat in a large space with room to move and make noise is worth every penny sometimes.

Pizza Express, The Kings Road.  Perfect family style pizzeria, set up to accommodate the lunch-time rush of toddlers and babies.  Inside and outside seating. 

 Peter Jones, The Restaurant, 6th Floor: A somewhat child friendly restaurant. They welcome children, have loads of high chairs and great changing facilities. The drawback is its cafeteria style dining, so you really need a second set of hands if you have two children.  The building is entirely step-free, but the lifts get really busy on the weekends.

 If the weather is fine, the courtyard in front of the Saatchi Gallery and the Duke of York Square are excellent places to amuse toddlers while you enjoy a coffee or just want to let the kids out for a wander.  In the summer, when there is no hosepipe ban, the Duke of York Square is filled with small shoots of water for children to run through.  A three year old can easily kill and hour there while an adult wanders through the boutiques or the Saatchi Gallery. You can always come mid-week, during term time and use the playgrounds as a toddler diversion while adults take turns exploring Chelsea.

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